John Fitzgerald Burns

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John Fitzgerald Burns (1833 – 19 March 1911)[1] was an Australian politician, member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Postmaster-General of New South Wales in the 1870s and Treasurer of New South Wales in the 1880s.

Burns was born in the north of Ireland, and emigrated to New South Wales at an early age.[2] In 1854 he had married Lucy Maria Smith at Maitland.[1]

Having engaged in mercantile pursuits in the Hunter River district, Burns was returned to the Assembly for the Hunter in 1862, and represented the constituency for many years. He was one of the members for St. Leonard's[2] 1889 to 1891.[1] He was Postmaster-General in the John Robertson Ministry from February 1875 to March 1877, and in that of James Farnell from December 1877 to December 1878. He introduced postal cards into Australia in 1875, and was the first to give employment to women in the telegraph department. In 1878 he arranged with the Governments of the other Australian colonies and New Zealand for the duplication of the submarine cable to Australia.[2] Burns was Treasurer in the last Robertson Ministry from December 1885 to February 1886, and in that of Sir Henry Parkes from January 1887 to January 1889. He was gazetted a C.M.G. in 1887, but declined the honour, and the appointment was cancelled.[2]

Burns died in Paddington, New South Wales on 19 March 1911; four sons and two daughters survived him.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Rutledge, Martha. "Burns, John Fitzgerald (1833–1911)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Burns, Hon. John Fitzgerald". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource